A trip down memory lane

I'm going to write a post about Saudi Arabia, because I haven't done that yet and feel like I should.

It's quite hard to write about, because in the past I've found that people just cannot comprehend the fact that I used to live there. If I tell someone I used to live abroad, they look all interested and say, "Oh wow, really, where?", but when you tell them Saudi Arabia, their eyes glaze over, they say something like, "Oh, right", and then maybe politely ask a question or two to feign interest.

My parents are teachers, and when me and James were small, they successfully applied for teaching positions at a British school in Saudi. I was only two years old when we moved out there, and that's where I spent my incredibly happy childhood. We lived on a compound called Green Valley, which had two swimming pools, a corner shop, a restaurant, tennis courts and a park, to name a few. There were a lot of kids around my age, and the beauty of it being a compound was that they were all right on my doorstep. I was never a lonely child.

The school I went to is the same one that my Mum still teaches at. I've been to four different schools overall, and it is definitely the one that I have the best memories from. I loved the school in England where I went to 6th form (for the most part), but I was in Saudi for much longer and so the good times there definitely out-weigh those from other schools. It was a big campus which was shared with an American school. The classes were small, everyone was friendly, the weather was great (although quite humid at times), the teachers knew who you were and what you were like. 

After I had finished year 5 (which would make me 10 years old), we left Saudi and came back to the UK. I think my parents wanted a change, as there are a lot of limitations in Saudi - especially for women. It was strange starting a new school, where no-one knew who I was, and they certainly didn't understand where I came from. A lot of people thought I was American, because I had picked up elements of an American accent whilst in Saudi - a side-effect of having a lot of American friends. I remember sneezing once in class and someone said, "The American sneeze!" and everyone laughed. I was completely bemused - I couldn't hear it. 

The other kids in my class also had trouble accepting that I was British. We had kept our house while we were in Saudi so that we had a base for the summer and Christmas holidays, and it was also convenient to have somewhere to live once we had left Saudi. But when I started my new school and told people where I used to live, they'd look at me in confusion and say, "So...you're Arabic then?" I grew tired of telling people that no, I wasn't Arabic, I was born in England to English parents - in fact, I was probably born in the same hospital that they were. 

People had no concept of what living in Saudi was like - which I can't blame them for. We were in a P.E. lesson when I was still pretty new and someone asked me if I spoke Arabic. Although we had Arabic lessons, I was not particularly advanced and could only say a few basics. One of the boys overheard the conversation and was confused as to how I could go to school in Saudi if I couldn't speak Arabic. When I told him that I went to a British school, he shook his head at me. "You lived in Saudi Arabia but you went to a British school? That makes no sense." It infuriated me. Luckily, once the novelty wore off, people stopped asking me questions about it and I was able to carry on as normal, but it still made me dread meeting new people for a while, if this was what everyone was going to be like.

We ended up going back to Saudi a couple of years later, but I'll save that for another day.

Today I'm loving: This.

Today I'm hatin': Charlie Sheen. Just get off the TV already, I don't care that you got sacked.

Song of the Day: From Now On by Nada Surf
I'm such a lucky mess/I just need some rest/Take me along/From now on


  1. people are still in shock when I say I grew up in saudi. Its gets even more complicated for me when I say I was born there, but im not Saudi and do not have Saudi citizenship. Green Valley had so many great memories!

  2. I don't get why people find it so hard to understand! Green Valley was awesome though.


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